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25 Sep 2014 - 08:27:47 pm

MR. BIG - ... The Stories We Could Tell [digipak] (2014)

MR. BIG - ... The Stories We Could Tell [digipak] (2014)

Melodic Hard Rock supergroup MR. BIG are back with a vengeance with their eighth studio album “...The Stories We Could Tell”. The original line-up of Eric Martin on vocals, Paul Gilbert on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass and Pat Torpey on drums are returns with some of their most powerful material to date. 
This album seriously rocks in a classic, groovin’, rockin' way, where Mr.Big lives up to the name.

Opener ‘Gotta Love The Ride’ is a loud great tempo rocking track with a bluesy feel to it, however there is a groove that runs throughout this track that drives this song along, a killer tune that gets and better with each listen. ‘I Forget To Breathe’ is up next, and follows the same bluesy route. A simple, yet effective chorus keeps this track motorin', while a monster guitar solo flashes.
‘Fragile’ seems to start off as a ballad, but then the sharp guitar riff kicks in and it heads of in a different direction. Eric’s voice is magical on this, delivering the song with real passion, while Gilbert’s playing is immense.
‘Satisfied’ is straight hard rock track with a complex bass playing of Billy Sheehan underpinning the song. The production on this new record is very different than on ‘What If’, Billy’s bass is more 'bass guitar' oriented.

‘The Man Who Has Everything’ is the first of two ballads on here. An acoustic guitar intro gives way to a big soulful vocal from Eric, his voice still sounding as good on this as it did on the debut Mr. Big album 25 years ago, the orchestral strings add a gentler yet fuller sound to the song, however just when we think it can’t get any better, Mr Gilbert comes in with a perfectly timed, short and sweet solo. The man is a genius.
‘The Monster In Me’ opens with a Billy bass run, the track is heavy, dirty, raw. This track belongs to Billy, everybody follows his funky chugging riffs, until finally Gilbert manages to break away into a ridiculously good solo.
‘What If I Were New’ is a different track altogether with the chorus being the fastest part of the track, however that is Mr Big’s style, to keep evolving, trying something new, and to the most part they have succeeded with the choppy guitar work breathing life into this song.

‘East/West’ features a great blend of acoustic and electric guitar underpinned once more by Billy's sophisticated bass playing on the rocking song. ‘The Light Of Day’ and stays on the hard rock route with a big groove, big guitars, fast bass work and Eric's killer voice all add up to a great track, however it is the latter part of the song that will make you sit up and listen even more as Gilbert and Sheehan do one of their famous dual solos. Just brilliant.
‘Just Let Your Heart Decide’ is the 2nd ballad and far better than ‘The Man Who Has Everything’ Eric sings this one deep, almost sultry in a way, before a glorious chorus washes over the entire song, you’ll be singing this one for weeks. A classic Mr. Big ballad.
‘It’s Always About That Girl’ sticks to the big arena sound, and finally I get a chance to praise drummer Pat Torpey. With Sheehan and Gilbert about poor Pat never really gets a look in, but if you strip back the layers, you will find him there, pounding away. And what an impressive job he does.

‘Cinderella Smile’ is a mid-tempo melodic rock song. With its simple chorus line it does grow on you, the groove gets to you.
The disc ends with title track ‘The Stories We Could Tell’. Though not the strongest track on here, despite it carrying the album’s title, but like a lot of the songs on here, has a groove running through it that drags you in, and makes you listen to it again.
There's a bonus on this digipak version, a melting live take on the classic ‘Addicted to That Rush’.

“...The Stories We Could Tell” is another monster album from Mr. Big, rounding off what will certainly be in my top 10 albums of the year.
Eric’s singing has never been better, Pat’s drumming is tight and regimented, allowing Billy and Paul free reign to run riot over this great recording with, quite frankly, some stunning playing, both feeding off each other yet never losing sight of the songs direction and structure.
An amazing record - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


01. Gotta Love The Ride
02. I Forget To Breathe
03. Fragile
04. Satisfied
05. The Man Who Has Everything
06. The Monster In Me
07. What If We Were New?
08. East/West
09. The Light Of Day
10. Just Let Your Heart Decide
11. It’s Always About That Girl
12. Cinderella Smile
13. The Stories We Could Tell
14. Addicted To That Rush (live; exclusive bonus track)

Eric Martin – vocals
Paul Gilbert – guitars
Billy Sheehan – bass
Pat Torpey – drums
.
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